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This thread has been hijacked. It could be the biggest thread in the history of this forum, which surely Jessemadnote39 could not have imagined. He still posts every once in a while on Reddit, but I haven't seen him 'round these parts in ages. Anyway, the man is clearly a visionary - the Joe Sutter of Calgary Flames Message Board threads. To commemorate the 747th page, I bring you some high quality jet porn. 
 

I'm only sort of sorry for the hijacking, and I was temporarily banned by Big Chief for a lot less a few years ago... I promise to not interrupt any further discussions on this thread, or any other to discuss topics not related to the Calgary Flames in this section on this forum. Now, let's see if we can land this thing in the desert! 
 

The first airframe that we need to talk about is Clipper Victor. Victor was the 11th production 747, and the first to operate a scheduled commercial flight on January 22nd, 1970. She was a 747-121, and the registration number was N736PA. Clipper Victor was not supposed to make the inaugural journey, but due to engine trouble on her sister ship, Clipper Constitution (N733PA), her name was hastily changed to Clipper Young America, and she made the maiden voyage from JFK to LHR. A few months later, she became the first 747 to be hijacked and was flown to Cuba on August 2nd, 1970. After that, she was re-christened with her original name. 
 

On March 25th, 1977, Clipper Victor was destroyed in the worst accident in aviation history at Los Rodeos in Tenerife. Operating as Pan Am Flight 1736, Clipper Victor was taxiing down the runway when KLM Flight 4805 initiated her take off roll in the opposite direction before the Pan Am plane had cleared. As is always the case, there was a long chain of coincidences and events that led to this dramatic disaster which claimed the lives of 583 people. Of the 396 people on board Flight 1736, 336 perished.   
 

Here she is, photographed at London Heathrow in 1971. 


0786369.jpg?v=v40
 

Love. 

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This is Rijn (Rhine), registration PH-BUF. This 747-206B (production line 157) was operating as Flight 4805 when it collided with Clipper Victor. 
 

KLM_Boeing_747-200_PH-BUF_(7491686916).j


The captain of Flight 4805 was Jacob Veldhuyzen van Zanten. He was a highly respected pilot, and KLM's chief flight instructor. He was photographed for KLM ads, and was sought after news of the disaster broke as KLM executives had wanted him to lead the investigation, only then to learn that he had been involved, and was largely responsible for the events that unfolded on that horrific afternoon. 
 

Here is the ad that featured van Zanten: 

KLM_Magazine_that_contains_Captain_Jacob
 

And here is an eerie and foreboding photograph of Rijn, and Clipper Victor at Tenerife in the hours before the disaster: 

PAKL-at-Tenerife.png
 

Love. 

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On that very sad note, here's my favourite photo on airliners.net. I'm not sure what it is, exactly. Probably the menacing shadow cast on the water by the colossal bird. 

 

DRW7Tmmr3trwejMoZDNV7bTX9J1xtD1u.jpg


Love. 

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The first Air Canada 747 (747-133) was registered C-FTOA, and made it's commercial debut in April, 1971, as it operated a flight from YYZ to YVR. It first landed in Montreal from Seattle, however, in February that year. It was in Montreal that it underwent some vigorous testing, and AC pilots and crew familiarized themselves with the massive plane. 
 

Here is C-FTOA at LHR in August, 1971. 

 

1018422-large.jpg

 

And here's a cool writeup in the Montreal Gazette about 747s in the AC fleet, as well some some images of C-FTOA next to a Viscount in the hangar during the time it spent there prior to it's inaugural flight.
 

Love. 

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The oldest 747 still in service was the fifth off the line, and originally delivered to TWA in August of 1970. It's registration was N93101.
 

42128_1338512659.jpg


N93101 flew with TWA until 1975 before going into service with the Iran Air Force. Currently it is operating flights for Tehran based Caspian Airlines, and the registration is EP-CQB. 
 

1057768.jpg

Love. 
 

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We really should talk about Lockerbie. If you're not familiar with Clipper Maid of the Seas, Mayday is a great place to start. 
 

N739PA was a 747-121, and the 15th airframe ever produced. It was delivered to Pan Am in February, 1970, and flew with them until it was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 22nd, 1988. Here she is on a better day...
 

25017912834_09fb7ba2c6_b.jpg
 

There was a 25 year old man on the plane named David Dornstein. He had aspirations of being an author, but none of his work was ever published. His younger brother, Ken, wrote a book of his own as he tried to work through his grief by going through David's notebooks. It's called The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky

 

Speaking of Ken Dornstein, his real job is working for Frontline, and in 2015, they featured the Lockerbie disaster as Ken made every effort to interview the men responsible for the bombing. It's called My Brother's Bomber, and is well worth the watch. 
 

There's also a very personal accompanying site set up here:  https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/inheritance/


This past June, I was in Scotland, and I stopped in Lockerbie. I visited Tundergarth Church, the Remembrance Room, and Tundergarth field where the cockpit came down. Here is one of the iconic images of the cockpit in Tundergarth field: 

A-Lockerbie-le-deluge-de-corps-et-de-met

 

I also visited Sherwood Crescent which is where the wing section came down and exploded vaporizing several houses, and killing 11 people on the ground. They didn't rebuild the houses, but there is a memorial garden in their place. It's very quiet, and very peaceful there. If anyone is interested, I don't mind sharing the photos that I took in Lockerbie.

img.jpg


Love. 

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There are a couple of interesting first and second generation 747 airframes that are, or have been, in service over the past 50 years that have served very specific purposes. 

The first, and probably most iconic, is the Boeing VC-25. First introduce in August of 1990, it is a military variant of a very heavily modified 747-200. There were only two ever created (although I'd swear that I read somewhere that there are three... I digress), and you probably know them by their call sign - Air Force One. 

Air_Force_One_over_Mt._Rushmore.jpg

 

You can see them both in this image... 


The_two_Boeing_VC-25A_Air_Force_One.jpg
 

Love. Even if there's not a lot of love for the current administration... couldn't believe that someone gave the keys to the 747 to that buffoon. 

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The second is the NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier. There were two of these built as well. The first, which was originally built for American Airlines (which was not really a 747 operator, surprisingly) was N905NA. It was a 747-123, and was the 86th plane off the line. It was bought by NASA in 1975. There, it was heavily modified, and could safely transport the Space Shuttle. In the first few years, they didn't paint over the AA stripes. Here she is carrying the Challenger in 1982. 

 

1920px-STS_Challenger_on_747_SCA.jpg

 

In 1988, in the wake of the Challenger disaster, NASA procured a surplus 747SR-46 from JAL. It was originally produced in 1973, and flew with JAL until April, 1988. It entered service with NASA, after heavy modification to the 100 airframe, in 1990. Here she is carrying Endeavour. 
 

72323_1230963527.jpg

Love. 

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The 747-400 series saw some dramatic upgrades compared to its predecessors. The first 747-400 (N661US) was delivered to Northwest Airlines in February, 1989. The 400 series adopted the extended upper deck that was first introduced on the 300 series (it also did away with the iconic spiral staircase), and was the first 747 to feature winglets. It was also the first 747 to feature a glass cockpit, and that eliminated the necessity for a flight engineer. It's 231 feet long, has a wingspan of 212 feet, and from the ground to the top of the tail, it's six storeys tall. The 400ER can fly just over 14,000 without refuelling at a cruise speed of 0.86 Mach, and can carry up to 660 passengers in an all-economy layout - although, as that's not particularly profitable, most cabins feature a three-class layout, and typically carry 416 passengers. So, what I'm saying is that it's a flying apartment block. 
 

Canadian Airlines was the first Canadian operator taking delivery of C-GMWW in December, 1990. 

23295849531_a5d37398e0_b.jpg

 

Air Canada introduced their first 400 series when C-GAGL was delivered in June, 1991. 
 

32777_1133981295.jpg

 

The Air Canada fleet increased two-fold when they merged with Canadian Airlines, and it was that first 747-400, C-GMWW that completed the last flight by a Canadian operator in May, 2005. 
 

Love.  

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KLM took delivery of PH-BFC in September of 1989, and christened her City of Calgary. Sadly, in her 29 years of service, she never touched the ground there despite a concerted effort by the local spotters group. Her last commercial flight was on March 9, 2018, where she operated as KL888 from Hong Kong to Amsterdam. She does have an interesting story under her wings, however, when she was brand new, in December of 1989, she was operating as Flight 867 from Amsterdam to Tokyo. She was forced to make an emergency landing in Anchorage, Alaska, after flying through a thick cloud of volcanic ash from  Mount Redoubt, which had erupted the day before. The ash stopped all four engines, and she descended 14,000 feet before the pilots were able to get them started again. There were 245 souls on board. 

Here for you, the City of Calgary:
 

2d25b1780757001b90e816a4716614ef.jpg

 

DFWJwcPXYAAtrXX.jpg

38803060861_ab2985460c_b.jpg
 

Here is her last departure en route to the boneyard: 
 

 

Love. 
 

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British Airways Flight 9 had a very similar experience in June, 1982. G-BDXH, City of Edinburgh, was a 747-236B that was flying from Auckland to London when she encountered the ash cloud belched out of Mount Galunggung near Jakarta. The 263 people on board nearly ended up in the drink before the pilots were able to restart the engines with only a few thousand feet to spare as it glided toward the open ocean in the middle of the night. 

 

93136_1322385602.jpg

 

But, the real reason that I bring up BA is because they are the carrier with the largest fleet of 747-400s. The aging fleet are being retired by most airlines - Air France, KLM, and most of the traditional Asian carriers are replacing them with the much more economical triple-sevens, DreamLiners, and A350s. The 777X may well be the final nail in the coffin of the passenger 747. BA will have completely retired their fleet by 2024. 
 

It will be a sad day when there are no more Speedbird 747s. Here's a few 400 series in the BA livery. 

British_Airways_G-BNLU-2008-09-13-YVR.jp

671436.jpg

216507.jpg
 

Love. 

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Speaking of British Airways, did you know that Bruce Dickinson is a certified 747 captain? During some years when he wasn't on tour with Iron Maiden, he flew with British Airways (albeit, on a different type). Aces High indeed! During the Somewhere Back in Time tour (which landed in Calgary on June 5th, 2008), he was one of the pilots in command of Flight 666, which was a 757. For the Book of Souls tour through 2016-2017, he was one of the pilots in command of Ed Force One (TF-AAK), a Saudi Arabian Airlines 747-428 that was leased by the band for the duration of the tour. Like its predecessor, it operated as Flight 666. 

97256_1465464130.jpg
 

I did not shoot this video, but I was at Pearson Airport to watch Flight 666 land on Runway 23 on April 2nd, 2016. 
 

 

Love. 

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In the 1960s, when Boeing was designing the 747, it was believed that supersonic transport was the way of the future. Boeing was developing the SST, and in Europe, the British and French were working on the Concord. The 747 nearly put Boeing out of business because of all of the costs associated with design, testing, and production. I cannot emphasize how radical a shift this aircraft was from all of its predecessors in the jet age - the 707, 727, 737, DC8, and DC9. It was the first two-aisle airliner, and it was absolutely massive. Boeing had to build the factory as the airframes were going through it, but the problem was they didn't see a future in it. So they made a very smart decision. 
 

The cockpit was placed on the upper deck so that the entire nose could open. Once the SST was off the ground, they anticipated that the 747 would remain useful as a cargo plane. This was a brilliant decision because even though passenger operations are increasingly rare, the Boeing 747 will likely continue to fly cargo for another 30-50 years (depending on your optimism). Airbus has surpassed the 747 in size with the creation of the A380, but it's absolutely useless for cargo because it doesn't load easily. Carriers have been operating A380s for less than 15 years now, and they're already starting to retire them. They took a gamble on hub and spoke, and the 787 and A350 have changed all of the rules. When it comes to longevity, it appears that the 747 will have the last laugh. 

5839859_700bwp.webp

 

Love. 

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The Boeing Dreamlifter is a heavily modified 400 series that's used to transport large pieces of cargo, specifically designed for the 787 Dreamliner. As the Dreamliner is being produced in pieces all over the world, Boeing requires a transport that can carry those pieces to the final assembly line in Everett Washington. She's not the prettiest 747, but can carry three times the freight that the regular 747-400F can transport. 

Boeing_747-400LCF_Dreamlifter.jpg

This one actually loads from aft the wings, and nearer the tail section. 

boeing-dreamlifter3.jpg

 

Love. 

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5 minutes ago, Heartbreaker said:

The Boeing Dreamlifter is a heavily modified 400 series that's used to transport large pieces of cargo, specifically designed for the 787 Dreamliner. As the Dreamliner is being produced in pieces all over the world, Boeing requires a transport that can carry those pieces to the final assembly line in Everett Washington. She's not the prettiest 747, but can carry three times the freight that the regular 747-400F can transport. 

Boeing_747-400LCF_Dreamlifter.jpg

This one actually loads from aft the wings, and nearer the tail section. 

boeing-dreamlifter3.jpg

 

Love. 

You angry bro ?

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My favourite, and the latest variant of the 747 series is the 747-8, colloquially referred to as the "dash eight" - which is sort of confusing, because the Dash-8 is a very different airplane. Anyway, I digress... 
 

At just over 250 feet, the 748 is currently the longest airliner in production, although it is scheduled to be surpassed by the 777X. It has a wingspan of 224 feet. The 747-8i (Intercontinental) has a range of over 15,000 kms, a ceiling of over 43,000 feet, and a cruising speed of 0.9 Mach. It also has significantly improved fuel economy on its predecessor, quieter and more powerful engines, and it borrows the wing design from its much newer Boeing sibling, the 787. Unfortunately, as the hub and spoke model has been replaced by point to point, there are very few passenger carriers. The vast majority of the 154 orders have been for cargo ships, although Korean Air, Lufthansa, and Air China have a handful of them each, so if you want to fly one, those are your options. 
 

Seriously, though... can we just talk about that wing flex? 

1362318d1429433743-boeing-747-end-jumbo-

Lufthansa_Boeing_747-8_(D-ABYO)_at_Frank

 

Although there aren't a lot of these flying around, they'll be flying cargo for a long time. As you can see on this Atlas Air example, the cargo variant does not feature the extended upper deck.

atlasair2.jpg?itok=Uf0Z9GTx&timestamp=14

Sadly, we are nearing the end of the jumbo jet era. The four engines, the iconic hump, and all the romance will be gone from flying. I will really miss these planes, and the next time I'm crammed into the back of a 737 with no legroom, a broken entertainment system, and my carry-on stuffed under the seat in front of me because the bins are packed, I'll truly long for a bygone era. Sadly, for me, one I wasn't really around to truly appreciate. 
 

Love. 

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This variant is the most fun. The 747-SP was designed to move a lot of people on short flights. Mostly, it was used in places like Japan, but it was built for an era when you could catch a 747 from LA to San Francisco. It had the same wingspan as the 747-200, but the fuselage was much shorter, and the tail a bit bigger. 

1362312d1429433674-boeing-747-end-jumbo-
 

Love. 

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If you've enjoyed this hijacking, and I am sorry for doing it, sort of, I highly recommend checking out a photographer named JPC van Heijst. He's from the Netherlands, and works as a 747 cargo pilot. He takes amazing photos from his office of various landscapes, storms, stars, and other aircraft. It's stellar work. 

 

media_699_454000_w1280_fit_wm.jpg

 

His website is here: https://jpcvanheijst.com/
 

Love. 

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3 minutes ago, travel_dude said:

And back to our regularly scheduled program.

Thanks for the diversion.


You know how it is, when you're a dude traveling, you might not be fond of diversions... when you're a spotter, though - best news ever!

Love. 

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19 hours ago, Heartbreaker said:

Speaking of British Airways, did you know that Bruce Dickinson is a certified 747 captain? During some years when he wasn't on tour with Iron Maiden, he flew with British Airways (albeit, on a different type). Aces High indeed! During the Somewhere Back in Time tour (which landed in Calgary on June 5th, 2008), he was one of the pilots in command of Flight 666, which was a 757. For the Book of Souls tour through 2016-2017, he was one of the pilots in command of Ed Force One (TF-AAK), a Saudi Arabian Airlines 747-428 that was leased by the band for the duration of the tour. Like its predecessor, it operated as Flight 666. 

97256_1465464130.jpg
 

I did not shoot this video, but I was at Pearson Airport to watch Flight 666 land on Runway 23 on April 2nd, 2016. 
 

 

Love. 

 

I was at that Somewhere Back in Time show at the Dome.  It was a great time!

 

Thanks for this post. 

 

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